Companies are giving their customers a more personal touch. Why? It’s simple: People want personal connections with the companies they do business with. Here are four ways to kick-start your efforts:
Write a blog. Blogs give you the freedom to communicate directly with your target audience. Use an informal tone and write in first person, incorporating “I,” “me,” “you” and “your” throughout your posts. Give your staff a voice by letting them contribute to the blog. Your team will appreciate it and it will allow your customers to get to know your business on a deeper level. Online video, animated graphics and slide shows are another great way to show a human face. Bonus: Regular updates will boost your site’s ranking.
Include employee profiles. Professional bios engage readers. In addition to featuring your employees’ expertise, allow the staff to have some fun and share their personalities. Customers love finding out what makes your people tick!
Use real pictures. Many companies use stock photos on their websites. Although this is not a bad thing, using genuine pictures of your products and employees allows you to connect with your customers on a more personal level. Ultimately, your customers want to do business with people they like and trust. It’s easier to do this when your website contains real images.
Add testimonials. Testimonials are a great way to show potential customers how satisfied past clients are. Make sure they express how clients benefited from your products and services. Try to distinguish results from before they used your products and services and after they became clients. Earn extra credibility by including a picture or video of each person who provides a testimonial.
How are you making your business more personal and human? What do you want to try next? Let us know in the comments below.
Many businesses are still recovering from the recession in 2008. It’s been a roller coaster of uncertainty. Revenue is down and costs are high at your organization, yet other companies are doing well. So what are they doing differently?
While you’re looking inward and spending as little as possible, your competitors are investing in new products and services to meet market demand. In addition, they’re implementing brand strategies and setting long-term goals, regardless of the current state of the economy.
Don’t risk becoming obsolete. Consider the following strategies to strengthen your brand:
Aim high. Think big and set ambitious goals. Focus on expanding your business and consider ideas you haven’t tried before. For example, you might decide to double your sales, increase your Web traffic by 100 percent and attend two more events than you did last year.
Polish up your sales strategy. Even small changes can help increase your sales. Try these two tips:
Blow the dust off your sales pitch. Pitches that worked years ago may not be effective today. Tweaking your pitch with phrases such as, “We work with companies like yours” and “We understand your challenges,” can improve the value of your brand. Think about updating your elevator speech and include benefits and success stories rather than your name and job title.
Make your sales presentation shine. Simple updates to your presentation materials can give you an advantage over your competitors. Make sure your materials stand out from those of your competitors.
Revisit your marketing initiatives. This step goes hand in hand with updating your sales presentation. Your marketing should align with your brand strategy. If they don’t, an overhaul could be in order.
Attend relevant trade shows and events. Networking is key to expanding your leads. Get out there and meet prospective customers. Make sure you’re going to the right shows: Take time to research them before you register.
Add value. What differentiates your brand from your competitors? You must show how your business is unique. Focus on this differentiator and include it in all your materials.
Growing your company in a volatile economy can be a challenge. No matter what business you’re in, there are always obstacles to overcome and opportunities to be made. Always keep your customers top of mind and you’ll do fine.
How do you keep your name in front of customers during challenging economic times? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Social media plays an important role today in shaping individual purchasing decisions. Still, many companies resist using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn at all, or don’t take full advantage of these important marketing tools once they’ve taken the social media plunge. (more…)
Half the fun of the Super Bowl is watching the elaborate collection of hyper-expensive television commercials that serve as interludes during the NFL season’s coup de grace. And while the loudest cheers – and jeers – went to Budweiser’s Clydesdale melodrama, Tide’s food-stain zealots, and GoDaddy.com’s dork-kissing supermodels, Chrysler’s understated 120-second Dodge Ram spot quietly walked into a honking, flashing commercial Thunderdome and walked out with some of the viewers’ loudest applause and an advertising blueprint for upstart businesses.
Created by The Richards Group, Dodge’s “Farmer” spot is essentially a glossier, Ram-ier version of this farms.com ad from 2011. Dodge partnered with the National Future Farmers of America Organization, an agricultural Boy Scouts of sorts, in a $1 million fundraising campaign to benefit the group’s foundation. Both spots feature a voiceover of famed radio host Paul Harvey’s 1978 FFA convention speech and are set to inspiring still photographs of earthy farms and farmers.
To most watchers, “Farmer” undoubtedly feels more like a public service announcement for the agriculture industry than a truck commercial. Rams were subtly included in several of the images, but are so overwhelmed by the striking iconography of rural America that the ad positioned Dodge as an awkward third-wheel on a date between the FFA and NFL fandom.
“Farmer” was designed to juxtapose the omnipresence of Dodge within the proud farming class. The ad is a boon for the agriculture industry and the Future Farmers of America. It’s just unclear how many trucks the commercial is going to sell. What should make the Dodge ad so compelling to upstart businesses is not only that the FFA wooed a major brand to forfeit its Super Bowl moment, but that almost everyone was happy about it. The emotional pull viewers felt toward the farming industry and the simplicity with which the spot was created should be a weathervane to other industries hoping to publicize or monetize their services.
“Farmer” ranked third among Super Bowl commercials in USA Today’s Ad Meter. Forbes raved, Slate called it the night’s “most striking Super Bowl ad,” and The Wall Street Journal referred to it as the “great American Super Bowl commercial.”
Ever notice that publications like the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business or The Wall Street Journal all seem to follow their own rules when it comes to language?
Of course, that’s because they do. Along with the rest of the publishing world, these four newspapers all adhere to slightly different language guidelines that spell out whether the appropriate usage is “champing at the bit” or “chomping at the bit”; “healthcare” or “health care”; or “ballgown or “ball gown.”
This linguistic minutia may seem insignificant in isolation. But taken together with thousands of other language rules assembled into thick “style manuals,” these volumes not only make a publication’s copy consistent, but they convey and protect its distinctive voice, values and brand identity. (more…)
As a small business owner, you’re responsible for managing all aspects of your business – from overseeing operations to making sure the lights stay on. With so much to juggle, how can you prioritize a marketing plan?
If you don’t have a plan in place, now is a good time to start. If you don’t have time to implement a strategy on your own, an experienced marketer can help design and implement a marketing plan to suit your business.
A marketing plan is a blueprint for your entire business strategy. It should define your company, your customers, the products and services you provide, market trends, competitors, objectives and strategies, budget and timeframe, and metrics with which to measure your success.
The creation of any good marketing plan should begin by listing achievable goals for your company. These goals can be sales, promotions, new business or increased traffic to your website. Next, assign specific tasks that will help you realize each of your goals. Start with the most urgent goals and action items.
Next, create a timeline. Create workable deadlines and compile these dates on a shareable chart. Allow time for planning, developing, and publishing your materials – this will help you stay organized and keep track of projects.
Quick tips for beginners:
Define your product and services. Highlight the features and benefits that differentiate your product. What value does it give customers? What’s special about the service or product you provide? This information should inform your marketing strategy.
Identify your targeted customers. Create a profile of your ideal customers – demographics, lifestyle, etc. Who needs your products?
List your goals and objectives. Include quantitative and qualitative goals. Quantitative goals focus on reachable numbers and timeframes. Qualitative goals create descriptions for value and product image or perception. What are you going to do and when will it get done?
Want more tips for creating a marketing plan? Let us know in the comments below.
What’s an infographic? A very valuable marketing tool, if wielded properly.
An infographic displays a high volume of data or information visually to explain a message quickly and clearly. Many companies are using infographics for advertisements, signs, maps, case studies, technical writing and sales. And why not? They’re easy to read, visually compelling and convey a large amount of information in a memorable way. (more…)
I have a confession to make: I can’t stop using Pinterest. Since I signed up, I barely go on Facebook anymore. Instead, I spend hours filling my pinboards with photos of cute dresses, Crock-Pot® recipes and kitchen cabinets made from reclaimed wood. It’s become an obsession.
According to recent stats, my Pinterest addiction is totally normal. The startup hit the 10 million user mark faster than any social media site in history, digital business analytics source comScore reports, and is rapidly approaching 20 million users. (more…)
Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. New websites don’t promote themselves – people do. If you’re not getting the kind of traffic you expected, you’re probably not marketing the new site, or you’re relying on Uncle Henry to spread the word.
Big mistake. Killer landing pages, blogs with bells and whistles and fresh content don’t do any good if no one knows about your new site. (more…)
For months, the Facebook team has been holding a virtual sword of Damocles over the heads of users who obstinately refuse to transition to the new Timeline layout. Though March 30 was touted as D-Day for the full-blown Timeline conversion, many users still haven’t taken the plunge. Once you’ve opted in, there’s no turning back.